How to visit and important things to do. Are you thinking of a trip to the Auschwitz Holocaust Memorial? There are many options for visiting the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps. We would like to be of assistance and help you plan your visit, we will cover all the helpful points you need to know, the option to organize your transport and what to expect, an overview here.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU
Auschwitz-Birkenau – is the largest of the Nazi concentration camp and death camps dating from WWII. The camp consisted of three parts: Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II-Birkenau and Auschwitz III-Monowitz. The museum, located in southern Poland, near Krakow, is visited by over 2 million visitors annually. Visiting Auschwitz can be one of the difficult, gloomy and emotional places you have ever visited, thought-provoking.
Auschwitz I, which, as part of the former military base, was opened in 1940 and was a pre-trial detention center for Polish prisoners. It soon became a concentration camp and a place of mass extermination. The immediate reason for the establishment was the constantly increasing number of Poles arrested en masses. Construction began in 1941 the second camp of Auschwitz II – Birkenau to keep up with the large number of political prisoners and Jews deported to Auschwitz. Auschwitz-Birkenau became the main site for the extermination of Jews “for the final solution to the Jewish problem.” In the area of the camp, covering 140 hectares, there were about 300 barracks and residential, farm and administrative buildings. The area was fenced with 16 kilometers of barbed wire and about 13 kilometers of drainage ditches. The camp had 4 gas chambers and 5 crematoria. It is estimated that during the 5 years of operation of the Auschwitz camps, approximately 1.5 million people were sent, of which 1.3 million died. Most of the people deported to Auschwitz (especially Jews) were directed to the gas chambers. Those who did not die in the gas chambers died from other causes, including starvation, exhaustion, infection, and experimentation. In January 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated with the arrival of the Soviet army.
The information on the Auschwitz-visit.org website around Auschwitz is intended to help you plan your visit to this special UNESCO World Heritage site. You will find a short history of the camps’ creation, advice on how to get to Oswiecim as well as advice on trips to Auschwitz. At the bottom of the page you can also find some practical information about the tour and the rules of the camp. Read on!
How to visit Auschwitz
In the vicinity of the Auschwitz camps, the facilities are very limited for the tourist, so the best option is to visit Krakow and go on the Auschwitz tour as a day trip from Krakow.
There are three ways how to visit Auschwitz from Krakow
You can visit both camps on your own (without the guide) entrance fees is free of charge but you have to book a free ticket (private transportation).
With a complete Auschwitz group tour including (group) transportation from Krakow. This tour include a local licensed guide. Private tour with your own driver. this option include private local guide provide by museum and private transportation.
Getting to Auschwitz
• BY TRAIN – There are direct trains connecting Krakow with Oświęcim, a city located 2 km from the Auschwitz concentration camp. The travel time from Krakow to Oswiecim is approximately 2 hours. You also need to take into account the travel time / walk to the train station in Krakow and from the station in Oświęcim to Auschwitz. A one-way train ticket costs about 15zloty. Please note that the trains can by busy early in the morning especially weekends.
• BY BUS – on of the cheapest way to travel for only 13-15zloty (around 3-4 euro) one way. The way from Krakow to Auschwitz will takes about 2 hours. Buses depart from the bus station, which is located next to the Krakow Railway Station.
• BY CAR – you can get there a private car or hire a car. The journey from Krakow to Auschwitz takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Considering the parking problems in Krakow, we do not recommend renting a car. The best solution is excursion or hiring a private driver (more information below).
• BY TOUR – purchase of a trip from Krakow to the most convenient, but the most expensive option from the ones mentioned above. When booking a trip with a tourist company, you are guaranteed transport and visits to Auschwitz-Birkenau camps. The travel agency will organize transport and a tour with a licensed guide around Auschwitz. Please visit Krakowdiscovery.com
• WITH A GUIDED TOUR – more information further below.
1. Admission – admission to Auschwitz-Birkenau is free, however, you have to pay for the guided tour with an educator.
2. Guided Tour with an Educator: 65 zloty in Polish; 75 zloty in other languages, including English
3. Hours of Operation: Daily 8:00 am to 8:30 pm June, July, and August; reduced hours the remainder of the year. Closed on January 1, Easter Sunday, and Christmas. The Museum is open all year long, seven days a week, except January 1, December 25, and Easter Sunday. You can start the visit in the following hours:
8:00 AM – 2:00 PM December
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM January, November
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM February
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM March, October
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM April, May, September
8:00 AM – 7:00 PM June, July, August
These are the hours of entrance to the Museum. A visitor may stay on the site of the Museum 90 minutes after the last entrance hour (i.e. 5.30 in February or 8.30 in July).
The average guided tour of the two Auschwitz-Birkenau camps takes approximately 3.5 hours (2 hours Auschwitz and one hour Birkenau). Tours are offered in Polish, English, Spanish, Italian, German, French and Swedish.
You can book your ticket in advance on the official website of Auschwitz (preferred method). However, please take into account that tickets are limited and it may turn out that we will not buy it for the day.
The cost of a ticket with a guide is PLN 75 per person (in English).
To book a ticket online, I suggest you visit the official website of the Auschwitz museum visit.auschwitz.org.
If you can`t reserve your tickets online what should you do! It is possible to purchase a ticket directly at the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum. You must be prepared to wait in line for a short time, up to 3-5 hours, which may risk losing your purchase. There is a ticket office in the parking lot before meals to the local museum, where other tickets for the day are sold. The waiting time for tickets may be several minutes, an hour or longer. But on high-season weekends, you won’t be so lucky.
There are some option organizing Auschwitz tour below:
Booking an organized guided tour is the easiest and most convenient way to visit Auschwitz from Krakow. Your transport will be from your accommodation within the hour sent in advance by the operator, so you must be on time. If your booking is all inclusive, the tour operator will also take care of your Auschwitz timed admission tickets. This guarantees you the option that your ticket to Auschwitz will already be hissing if you have not booked your tickets in advance.
There are some the best option to visit Auschwitz from Krakow:
Auschwitz guided tour from Krakow – This is the cheapest, best recommended trip to Auschwitz from Krakow. The price of the trip includes the transport fee as well as the admission ticket. Please know that the price does not include lunch, so it’s best to bring your own snacks.
Auschwitz tour with a private transport with the the guide – This option allows you to book a private car or minivan during your transport to the museum Auschwitz. This is quite a comfortable option as the driver will be available all the time. The offer also includes a personal admission ticket to the museum.
Auschwitz guided group tour from Krakow – This is one of the most proposed tours on the Viator / Tripadvisor platform. The tour includes pickup from your accommodation address as well as an early booking ticket. Transport to the museum is by minivans or minibuses, which is quite comfortable.
Auschwitz & Salt Mine full day tour – If your stay in Krakow is quite short and would you like to see the two main attractions in one day, this option will be your best. The tour is by minivans, pick-up from the place of residence, tickets to the museum of Auschwitz and the Salt Mine are already included. The full-day trip also has a lunch break after visiting Birkenau.
Important information for visit Auschwitz Camp:
Security – in Auschwitz I, they attach great importance to security in the camp. Entry to the site is first done through a metal detector and you can ask for your ID card or passport.
Bags – your bag larger than 30x20x10 cm cannot be brought into the camp. If you do not have the option to leave your luggage in the vehicle, you can leave in storage room for a small fee.
Photography – can be taken, but inside buildings a flash must be turned off. Although there are places where photography is allowed no markings surcharge when it comes to abstract and easy to miss, if you are unsure, I advise you to check them before taking pictures.
Facilities – there are bathrooms in the camps for a small fee. There is a restaurant and a fast food bar on the premises of Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II. However, I recommend taking a few snacks and a bottle of water with you. Eating and drinking is prohibited in the camps.